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UPDATE | South Whidbey offense overpowers Concrete
LANGLEY — Concrete wasn’t tough enough to stop South Whidbey’s offense.
Falcon running back Sam Lee scored two touchdowns and quarterback Avery Buechner rushed for another as South Whidbey chipped away at Concrete to earn a 36-6 win Friday.
South Whidbey scored on the Lions’ first major mistake of the game: a botched snap that was fumbled and scooped up by the Falcons at the Concrete 40-yard line just 10 seconds into the contest.
An Austin Bennett reception and sideline dash immediately followed and put South Whidbey on the edge of the red zone, then a 25-yard strike from Buechner to Lee gave the Falcons a 6-0 lead.
Bennett pulled in a Buechner pass and scored two after a kick fake for the point after.
Buechner followed with another touchdown on a 10-yard keeper for the Falcons, but Concrete came back with just over five minutes left in the first half, scoring on the third try from a few inches out against a tough goal-line stand by the Falcons to cut the South Whidbey advantage to 15-6.
From there on, it was all Falcons. Lee scored on an eight-yard toss from Buechner, and Aaron Curfman hammered in from two yards out for another Falcon touchdown.
It was 29-6 by the end of the third, but it might have been worse.
Bennett intercepted an errant Lions pass on the Falcon 30 with just a few seconds before the end of the quarter and ran it back for a touchdown as the buzzer sounded. An illegal block by South Whidbey nullified the score, however.
Bennett broke free up the middle, then scampered 44 yards down the sidelines for the Falcons’ final score in the fourth quarter.
“I just bounced it, hit the corner and there it was,” he said.
Bennett finished the game with three carries for 72 yards.
Falcon head coach Andy Davis praised the offensive line. The line pushed through the defense for tailback Sam Lee and bought junior quarterback Buechner time to throw 140 yards. He went eight-for-11.
“The offensive line is coming together as a group,” Davis said. “They’re just getting more and more comfortable with each other.”
Davis pointed out the depth of the offensive line, citing a nine-man rotation.
“We don’t just have five guys,” Davis said. “We have six, seven, eight or nine guys who show up and we don’t miss a beat.”
Bennett benefitted from the line working together and acknowledged their efforts with heaps of praise.
“Our whole line did an amazing job,” he said. “They really worked hard during the week and made it happen tonight.”
Concrete’s offensive scheme relied on the run. The Lions attempted four passes. The run-heavy offense limited senior Tyler “Chuck” Norris’ opportunities for a sack. Norris had a streak of 13 games with a sack.
There was a good reason why, however.
“They didn’t throw the ball,” Davis said.
“He played a great game other than that,” the coach added. “It’s just a stat, and I don’t think he’s worried about it.”
Norris had eight tackles in the first half, and finished the game with 10 and four assists.
“He played a killer game for us,” Davis added.
Teammate TJ Russell was part of the reason why. He pulled in four receptions for 80 yards. Russell returned as a cornerback and wide receiver after missing the season opener against Bellingham.
And then there was Lee. He had three receptions for 41 yards. He also had nine carries for 56 yards.
Bennett and Russell stood out on defense, too. They each pulled in an interception during the second quarter.
“We played hard all four quarters. And the young guys came through at the end,” Norris said. “It feels really good to put a win under our senior belts.”
Davis said the team put out a solid effort.
“We showed great balance on our total yardage between the run and pass,” Davis said.
South Whidbey racked up 196 yards rushing and 178 passing.
The Lions had 196 yards of total offense.
Lions head coach Ron Rood said he sat their starting quarterback in the second half because of an injury. He said he didn’t want to play him until he knew the extent of the injury, which was later cleared and he expects his quarterback to play this week.
“It hurt our ability to throw,” Rood said. “We don’t have the depth that South Whidbey has.”
Rood said the chain effect was losing the throwing option and relying on a running game more heavily than planned.
“The big story is we had five turnovers,” Rood said.
Now South Whidbey turns its attention toward Granite Falls for the first road game.
“They like to throw the ball like Concrete, but they’re more physical than Concrete,” said Davis of the Granite Falls Tigers.